Tuesday Teaser June 17, 2014 Wolf’s Lady Part 22
Hello! I’m back with an extra long snip from Wolf’s Lady to make up for missing last week. I’m also including a pic of the real Amanda, a friend that I’ve loosely based this character on. We spent part of Saturday doing pictures. When I’ve finished this story I will put it away until I’ve submitted Wolf’s Princess, then I will have it edited, and I’ll do a re-write based on the edits, then I will make it available for free on my website. I’ll get a cover made using one of the pictures from Saturday’s photo shoot.
Before we get to the tidbit, I wanted to let you know that I have officially started Wolf’s Princess. My soft goal to have the rough draft done is October 10. We’ll see how I do with that. 🙂 And now, with no further ado (I’ve always wanted to say that!) here is Sand and Amanda.
Amanda returned home from shopping with a box under her arm containing a lacy nightie that covered almost nothing, and a sheer robe that hid barely more. Cayla walked beside her in the light drizzle through the gates to Sky’s House. She nodded to Randy, the gate guard, as he swung the gate closed behind them.
“You should have had something made up special,” Cayla said, nodding at the package Amanda tried to shield from the rain. “I mean, that one special night with the one special man deserves something unique.”
“That would have taken at least a week.” Amanda smiled in anticipation. “I’m not waiting that long.”
Their hair was damp by the time they rushed into the house, laughing, but their laughter died when they saw Sky standing in the front hall, face set in harsh lines.
“Where’s Sand?” Amanda asked, heart jumping in her chest.
“Come back to my office.”
She gripped her box tighter for a moment before surrendering it to Cayla. The compassion on the other woman’s face hurt. She followed Sky to his office, noticing he had changed into jeans and a cotton button down shirt. He had been back for a while, then.
As soon as the door closed, she asked, “Where is Sand?”
Sky looked her right in the eye. “During the meeting, he attacked Terry. He was arrested for assault. He’s in the City cells.”
Turning away with fist clenched against her stomach, Amanda huffed, “That idiot!”
“He was provoked. Askup said some nasty things.”
Amanda whirled back with a swing of damp hair. “Not Sand. Terry! That asshole just won’t give up. Doesn’t he understand English? Is he stupid enough to think this will make me accept him?”
“Who can say what a stupid man thinks when he’s in love?” Sky’s voice was full of bitterness that he instantly banished. “I petitioned for a speedy trial. It’s going to be even speedier than I expected. Three pm today.”
That didn’t give them much time to plan a defense. “Where’s Joe?”
“He’s with Sand, coaching him in how to answer questions at the trial.”
“Good.” Joe Sullivan was a quiet man whose thin pale hair matched the rest of him. Shy and unassuming until he stood in a courtroom, Sky’s lawyer was passionate in pursuit of justice. “I’ll go get changed. Don’t leave without me.”
Sky caught her elbow. “No, you need to stay here.”
“Are you crazy?” She jerked her elbow free. “This is my fiancé we’re talking about.”
“Your fiancé?” Something lit Sky’s eyes to radiant blue. “You’re accepted him?”
“Yeah. He doesn’t know it yet, but yeah. I decided this morning that I would marry him.”
Sky was silent for a moment before nodding. “Get changed and have something to eat. We leave for City Hall in an hour.”
* * *
The courtroom was packed. That was unexpected, considering how the trial time had been rushed through. Amanda could see a
dozen of her usual appointments present, as well as quite a few young men, apparently expecting to see a show. If the trial went badly for Sand, she would damn sure give them a show. Terry was sitting with another man, probably his lawyer, at a table at the left in the front of the courtroom. She studiously ignored him as she let Sky’s firm hand guide her into a chair right behind the defendant’s table on the right. Joe Sullivan was already there, shuffling papers in a false show of nerves. Sky leaned forward to whisper in the lawyer’s ear.
She smoothed the skirt of her floral maxi dress over her knees while the men whispered. What to wear had had been a hard choice. She wavered over her one conservative suit, but decided to wear a dress Sand had admired. Her hair was brushed out, damp from the rain, over her bare shoulders. She wore less makeup than usual. As she’d feared, even with an umbrella, she’s gotten wet on the walk downtown. No way would she attend Sand’s trial with her mascara smeared over her face as if she’d been crying. Instead she put her shoulders back, slipped the skinny shoulder strap of her dress back up and put a mildly interested expression on her face.
It was hard to maintain that expression when the door to the side of the room opened and Sand was marched in. He was still gorgeous in Sky’s borrowed suit, but the handcuffs holding his wrists together in front of him made Amanda’s blood boil. His face, with eyes narrowed into black slits, looked barely civilized. The Guardsmen steered him to the table beside Joe, nearly within touching distance of her. When he saw herm, his eyes opened wide.
“Amanda,” he said, twisting around in his chair to stare at her.
“I’m here with you, Sand.” She kissed her fingertips and flicked her fingers toward him to throw him the kiss. “I’ll always be with you.”
He opened his mouth to say something, but Joe tugged on his sleeve, murmuring urgently. The reluctance was obvious when he turned around, leaving her to stare at his hair. It was still braided, with the watery light from the windows gleaming on the rain that wet it.
“All rise for Judge John J. Case,” the bailiff bawled.
Amanda relaxed a little and stood. Johnny had been one of her regulars until he married five years ago. And, more importantly, he wasn’t a friend of Terry’s. She made sure she caught Johnny’s eye as he mounted the steps to his seat. She gave him only the smallest of smiles, trying to convey thoughtful respect, no flirtation or sassy appeal. His answering smile and nod were warm, lifting some of the weight off her chest.
“Everybody, take your seats,” Johnny said, settling himself behind the tall imposing desk. “Bailiff, read me the charges.”
“Mr. Terrence Askup, plaintiff, accuses Mr. Sand Wolfe, defendant, of physical assault on two occasions, the first on the evening of September 10th of this year, and the second in the morning of September 30. That would be today, Judge.”
“I know what day it is,” the judge said, gazing at Terry with a cool expression before turning that same expression on Sand. “How does the defendant plead?”
Joe and Sand stood up. “Mr. Wolfe pleads not guilty to both charges.”
The back of Terry’s neck went red and he leapt to his feet. “Liar!”
Johnny cast him a narrow-eyed glare. “The plaintiff is not to speak unless asked a question. Sit down, gentlemen.”
Amanda couldn’t see Terry’s face, but she would bet he was scowling. The judge raised a sheaf of paper. “I want quiet in the courtroom while I review the complaint.” He muttered something about haste making waste, and began reading. After long minutes he raised his head again.
“It says here that Mr. Sand Wolfe is employed by Mr. Sky Wolfe in the capacity of Hall Monitor, which I believe is a fancy word for bouncer.”
Some of the men in the room laughed.
“Mr. Askup alleges Mr. Sand Wolf ejected him from the premises with no explanation and excessive force, causing bodily harm. Is that right, Mr. Askup?”
Amanda saw Sand twitch, and Joe lay a soothing hand over his wrist.
The judge read the paper again. “And this morning Mr. Sand Wolfe attacked you in the mayor’s home without cause or reason. Is that right?”
Terry’s neck reddened again. Shame? Amanda hoped so, but she doubted it. “Yes,” he said loudly.
“Do you have any changes you’d like to make to your statement or anything to add?”
Terry’s lawyer whispered into his ear. Terry shook his head as if irritated. “No, Your Honor.”
“Very well. Mr. Wolfe?” Johnny cast a quick glance at Sky and clarified, “Sand Wolfe?”
Sand and Joe stood up.
“The complaint states you removed Mr. Askup from Sky’s House without any explanation. Is that true?”
“No, Your Honor,” Sand said in a clear, level voice. “I told Mr. Askup that his appointment had been cancelled. That all his appointments with Miss Amanda had been cancelled. He said very insulting things about me and tried to push past me to go to Miss Amanda’s room. I had to lift him off his feet to stop him. I carried him down the stairs and pushed him outside. If he got bruised, it was his own fault. He should have left when he was told to.”
The gallery buzzed with whispered and chuckles. The noise stopped dead when Terry leapt to his feet.
“She’s my fiancée!” he yelled.
Noise broke out again. Sand fell into a half couch. Next to her Sky stiffened and said quietly, “Easy, cousin. Don’t make the change here.”
Incredibly, Sand seemed to have heard him even over the noise. He relaxed. “You asked her to marry you. She refused.”
Terry began to yell again, but the bailiff grabbed hold of his arm as Johnny banged his gavel on his desk. “Silence!” he roared. “You will have another chance to speak, as long as you stay quiet now! Mr. W—Sand Wolfe, what happened this morning?”
“My cousin Sky and I went to the mayor’s house to meet Askup because he was making trouble. An inquiry. Or an investigation?”
The judge lifted a page, scanned it. “Yes, it’s here. What happened? Did you assault Mr. Askup?”
“I wanted to pound his face in,” Sand said, “but I didn’t. I might have, if Sky hadn’t stopped me.”
More laughter from the gallery. Terry was not well liked in Omaha.
“The complaint states you attacked the plaintiff for not reason. Is that true?”
“I had plenty good reason!” Anger threaded liberally through Sand’s voice. “He said filthy things about Amanda.”
Joe spoke for the first time. “A man has a right to defend his fiancee’s honor.”
Amanda saw that Sand and Terry both stiffened, but probably for different reasons. Sand swung around to stare at her, confusion and hope on his face. She smiled at him and nodded.
Terry screamed, “She’s my fiancée!”
“The hell she is!” Sand roared back.
“Dear God,” Johnny growled. “Bailiff! Separate the plaintiff and the defendant.”
Actually, Sand hadn’t moved. He stood straight, fists clenched at his sides, but Terry was trying to get to him. The bailiff wrestled Terry back to his table. He stared, wild-eyed, at Amanda.
“I asked you to marry me!” he shouted.
“And I told you no,” she shouted back.
The gallery tittered like schoolgirls, staring at the front of the courtroom like it was the most fascinating play they’d ever seen. Amanda felt her cheeks flush. She sat back in her chair, trying to calm herself.
“Aha,” said the judge, like a man who had finally smashed the mosquito that had been buzzing around his face all night. “Both of you seem to think you’re engaged to marry the same woman. And here is the lady herself. Miss Amanda, if you would satisfy the court’s curiosity on one point, the court would be grateful. Yes, stand up, please, and tell us which, if either, of these two men you would like to be your husband?”
She stood up, feeling slightly wobbly, but Sky beside her and Sand in front of her, steadied her. “Your Honor, I am going to marry Sand Wolfe.”
The blaze of joy in Sand’s face made tears smart her eyes. “I love you, Sand,” she said in a low voice she hoped he could hear over the roar of the gallery.
“No!” It was a demented scream from Terry. He clawed at the bailiff to free himself. “You can’t marry that stinking Indian. He’s not good enough for you.”
The gavel thudded repeatedly while the judge shouted for silence. The roar had almost died to nothing when Amanda put one hand on her hip and glowed at Terry. “You think you’re good enough for me? Listen, sugar, I am way too much woman for a pencil dick like you to handle. From now on the only man to handle me will be Sand.”